Waterfront living on the edge in Eastham
A husband and wife team creates a beachfront home that takes your breath away
News of a ramshackle beach cottage, clinging to a cliff for dear life, and newly listed on the real estate market, ignited a spark within Brianna and Brian Seppala. A spark that fueled a yearlong commitment to create a very special home perched on the edge of the Eastham coast. The beachside community of Silver Spring is a close-knit group of mid-century seasonal cottages that are nestled in the dunes adjacent to Cooks Brook Beach in North Eastham. Most of the homes are seasonal structures that haven’t seen much modernization, since they were constructed in the last century, but the few that have ventured into the 21st century still acknowledge the windswept wildness inherent to Outer Cape enclaves such as Silver Spring.
Such is the case with 15 West Road. As Brianna—who spent every summer of her life at her grandparents’ summer place, a stone skip away—tells it, the former rabbit hunting camp was owned by a less-than-friendly and uncooperative neighbor, and upon her death the property was placed on the market. A long history of denying Silver Spring association members easement across the owner’s section of dune and beach (due to a rare low median tide deeded right) resulted in frontage that never received the benefit of cooperative improvement and reinforcement, creating a precariously perched proposition. “Brian and I were the only ones that believed in the future of this property; everyone else thought for sure it was going into the ocean, so no one else really made any offers,” Seppala recalls. A relatively short and painless process through the often-restrictive zoning and planning boards paved the way for the husband and wife team to create a new home for this one-in-a-million site.
Before the nuts and bolts of building a home on such a waterfront lot were able to commence, the dune had to be reinforced and fortified. A rampart rebar system was implemented into the core of the grade, as well as a revetment of boulders and then finally planting the topsoil with erosion-preventing beach grass. According to Brianna, the dune must be “nourished” each year with sand and additional plantings to ensure an uncompromised future of the site. Once the ground was stable beneath their feet, the couple’s creativity was unleashed.